Are you facing criminal charges after a bar fight in Monroe County, Florida? If so, don’t try to handle this situation alone. A conviction can result in harsh penalties, including steep fines, jail time, and a criminal record that could follow you for years. Legal representation is essential. Any of the lawyers at Reed Palacios Law can represent you in court, talk to witnesses, and work hard to get a favorable outcome for your situation. Contact us today to get started with a free, confidential consultation session.

If a disagreement in a bar escalates to threats or violence, it might lead to charges of assault or aggravated assault. Both of these charges involve threatening someone else, but they differ in severity and the consequences they carry.

Assault

Under Florida law, an assault occurs when someone intentionally and unlawfully threatens another person with violence. The threat must be through words or actions that make the other person fear that they are about to be harmed. The person making the threat must also have the ability to carry out this threat at that moment. In most cases, assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, if someone commits an assault to incite or sustain a riot, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is a more serious form of assault. It occurs if someone uses a deadly weapon to threaten another person without intending to kill them. It can also occur if someone threatens another person with violent intent while intending to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is typically a felony of the third degree, though it might count as a more severe charge if it occurs during a riot.

In Florida, battery charges can arise from harmful physical confrontations, such as those that often result from bar fights. Here’s how the law breaks down these offenses:

Battery

According to Florida law, battery happens when you actually and intentionally touch or strike someone against their will or intentionally cause bodily harm to another person. Typically, battery is a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, if you have a previous conviction for battery, it becomes a felony of the third degree for a second-time conviction, leading to even harsher consequences. Also, if the battery occurs during a riot, it automatically qualifies as a felony of the third degree.

Aggravated Battery

Aggravated battery occurs if, during the act of battery, someone either intentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement or uses a deadly weapon. It also occurs if someone commits battery against a woman who they knew or should have known was pregnant. This crime is a felony of the second degree. As with battery, if you commit aggravated battery during a riot, Florida’s sentencing guidelines place the crime at an even higher level of severity.

In Florida, both assault and battery charges often come up in scenarios like bar fights, sometimes resulting from the same interactions. The key difference between these two offenses is that you don’t have to actually touch another person to face assault charges – just threatening them with words or actions is enough.

For example, if someone raises a fist in a bar and threatens to hit another person, this could lead to an assault charge, whether or not the punch actually lands. Battery, on the other hand, always involves actual physical unwanted interaction with another person. For instance, if the same bar fight escalates, and one person strikes the other, that’s battery. Both charges are serious, but battery is seen as more severe.

In Florida, the penalties for assault and battery can vary greatly depending on the severity of the charge:

  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor Penalties: Up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor Penalties: Up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines
  • Third-Degree Felony Penalties: Up to five years in jail and $5,000 in fines
  • Second-Degree Felony Penalties: Up to 15 years in jail and $10,000 in fines

If you face assault or battery charges after a bar fight in Florida, your criminal attorney could use one or more of the following strategies to defend you:

  • Self-Defense: This is one of the most common defenses in bar fight cases. If your lawyer can show that you only used force because you genuinely believed you were in immediate danger of being harmed, you might have a valid self-defense claim. This defense involves arguing that your actions were a necessary and justifiable response to protect yourself. For instance, if someone threw a punch at you first, and you hit back in self-defense, this could be a valid legal defense.
  • Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, if you intervened in a fight to protect someone else from getting hurt, your lawyer might use this strategy to defend you. Defense of others allows you to argue that your actions were necessary to prevent harm to another person. For example, if you saw someone about to strike a friend, and you stepped in to stop the attack, you could argue that your actions were justified under this defense.
  • Lack of Intent: For most assault or battery charges to stick, there must be proof that you intended to commit the act that caused fear or physical harm. If you can demonstrate that any contact was accidental or that you did not intend to threaten or harm anyone, this defense might apply. For instance, if you were waving your arms to get a bartender’s attention and accidentally struck someone, this could show a lack of intent.

Facing assault or battery charges after a bar fight in Florida can be overwhelming, but an experienced lawyer can make a significant difference in your case. Here are some defense services a skilled assault attorney could provide to assist you:

  • Investigating the details of the bar fight incident
  • Gathering evidence, such as security camera footage and witness statements
  • Interviewing witnesses who were present during the incident
  • Challenging the prosecution’s evidence against you
  • Arguing for the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence
  • Negotiating with prosecutors to reduce or dismiss charges
  • Representing you in all court appearances related to the charges
  • Explaining your legal options and the potential outcomes of your case
  • Filing pre-trial motions to improve your legal standing
  • Securing bail or bond arrangements that allow you to remain free during trial
  • Consulting forensic experts to strengthen your defense
  • Preparing and submitting necessary legal documents on your behalf
  • Cross-examining prosecution witnesses to find flaws in their testimony
  • Seeking a plea bargain that minimizes your penalties if conviction seems likely
  • Protecting your rights throughout the legal process

Don’t wait to get the legal help you need after an assault or battery charge from a Monroe County bar fight. Contact Reed Palacios Law today. Our team is ready to provide the strong legal support you need and defend your rights in court. Call us today at (305) 563-7281 for your free initial consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can defend you.